Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-TX) newest Republican challenger is his recently-departed staffer, Jose Sanz.
Legistorm data reflected that Sanz departed from Cuellar’s office at the end of June. Sanz was serving as Cuellar’s district director and press secretary; he began working for the congressman in 2021.
In a Tuesday press release announcing his candidacy, Sanz said that he had an “unparalleled” experience under Cuellar, but reportedly realized that his values and beliefs didn’t align with those held by the congressman.
“However, over time it became clear that my values and beliefs did not align with those of the office,” said Sanz. “I had to make a change so I could fight for what matters to me most … my conservative ideals and the ability to represent the family values of the people of District 28 in Washington, D.C.”
Cuellar has been noted as more of a centrist than a hard-left Democrat. In July, the congressman voted for a ban on federal spending for abortion travel expenses.
In his press release, Sanz also expressed a commitment to securing the border and countering cartel activity. He said that the South Texans comprising Cuellar’s district were conservative and supportive of those goals.
“We must secure our border with Mexico, stop human trafficking and the influx of drugs into the United States and cut off the flow of illegal weapons from the United States across the Southern border,” said Sanz.
Sanz and his former boss have border security as a common priority. Over the weekend, Cuellar called out President Joe Biden for the worsening border crisis. The congressman proposed publicizing deportations to improve border security.
“We need to have repercussions at the border. What does that mean?” said Cuellar. “You’ve got to deport people, and you’ve got to show images of people being deported.”
Cuellar’s district, 28, runs along the border through Laredo and Rio Grande up to the eastern outskirts of San Antonio.
Sanz shared in his press release that he immigrated from Mexico in order to escape the violence of his home country. Apart from serving as Cuellar’s staffer, Sanz worked as an ESPN-Mexico television sports analyst.
As of this report, the website for Sanz’s campaign was registered but not yet finished.
Sanz’s announcement comes less than a week after Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced he was switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
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